“Hockey-bots” set to face off at annual UBC student engineering competition

Event: Students in summer engineering physics course design
robots for “hockey-bot” competition.

Date/Time: Thursday, July 31, 2003, 10 a.m. – 12 noon.

Place: UBC Campus, Hennings Bldg., Rm. 200, 6224 Agricultural
Rd.(off East Mall).

Visuals: Students playing hockey-type games with robots.
Students and instructor will be available for interviews.

Parking: North Parkade, access off Westbrook Mall, or meter
parking in front of UBC Bookstore on East Mall.

There is no Stanley Cup and it’s
not played on ice, but there could be some fierce body checking
at an unusual hockey competition taking place at UBC this

For their final exams, 14 teams of engineering students
will pit prototype hockey robots against each other on a “rink” surface
to battle for control of the puck and score goals in a net.

The event is the culmination of Physics 253, a 13-week crash
course in practical design modeled on similar courses at
MIT and Stanford. Students learn the basics of electro-mechanical
design and then apply that knowledge to construct their robots
from scratch.

The students have spent the last six weeks building the
autonomous robots to be fast, accurate and, most importantly,
capable of taking knocks from their opponents. The robots
are preprogrammed and no remote control will be allowed in
the competition.

Each match will last two minutes and the robot that scores
the most goals wins. Although the students have been encouraged
to design their robots to carry on the great Canadian traditions
of scoring goals and pummeling opponents, course instructor
Andre Marziali, a UBC Physics professor, will call penalties
on any hockey-bots that catch fire during the competition.